A Guide to Understanding IEP Areas for Growth and Accommodations

Students are unique.  We know this, we understand this, and we have evidence of this every day within our classrooms, and through our lived experiences.  We also know that “[a]ll students can learn with the use of specific strategies that meet each student’s unique learning needs.” (Teach Spec Ed: https://www.teachspeced.ca/)

This is why it’s so important that we understand our students’ Areas for Growth, and required Accommodations as listed on their IEPs (Individual Education Plans).

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Addressing the Misunderstanding

Sometimes there is a misunderstanding that a student’s Areas for Growth, or their identified exceptionality impacts their ability to acquire and demonstrate knowledge, or to problem solve.

While there are often good intentions when teachers offer a specific accommodation to all students, such as the ability to provide oral responses, this may prove challenging for a student whose Areas for Growth includes Expressive Language: Oral.

It is for this reason that a strong Universal Design for Learning approach needs to include multimodal options for both the delivery, and evaluation of learning.

Areas of Strength / Areas for Growth

Select from the entries below to continue your learning…

Understanding Accommodations

With a common understanding for Areas of Strength and Areas for Growth, as well as how those can be addressed through accommodations through a universal design perspective, as well as in an individualized fashion, we will now turn our attention to a number of specific accommodations that are often found on our student’s IEPs.

For each of these three pieces, you will be presented with an explanation of what it means, what it looks like in practice, and an explanation of how this approach benefits our students.

Specific examples connecting to real projects are highlighted through included exemplars.

Different Accommodations

Select from the entries below to continue your learning…

Would you like to know more?

If there are any additional Areas for Growth, or Accommodations you’d like to gain a better understanding of, please leave a comment in the space below. This page, much like an Individual Education Plan, is a living document.

Written by…

Michael Barltrop has been teaching since 2006, integrating comics, video games, and TTRPGs into his classroom. He has been the head of English, Literacy, Special Education, and Assessment & Evaluation and Universal Design. Feel free to reach out through Twitter @MrBarltrop!

Feel free to support the website hosting by buying him a coffee or sharing this post on facebook, twitter, or whatever social media is trending these days.

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